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Does sexual harassment exist in virtual workplaces?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2022 | Sexual Harassment

With more and more workspaces taking on elements of a virtual workplace or even going entirely virtual, the dynamic between people at work has changed somewhat, too. But some things – particularly some issues – have frustratingly remained the same.

This is true of sexual harassment at work, unfortunately. Despite the move to virtual spaces, harassment has found a way in and continues to thrive.

What is sexual harassment?

The New York Times examines workplace harassment during the current shift to almost entirely virtual workplaces. First, note that most forms of sexual harassment did not require physical assault or a perpetrator making physical contact with a victim in any way. This held true during traditional work situations and continues to remain true in virtual workspaces.

Common forms of harassment that do not require physical contact can include:

  • Threatening someone if they do not perform a sexual favor (firing, demotion, etc)
  • Bribing someone in return for a sexual favor (promotion, raises, etc)
  • Making crude or sexual remarks about an individual
  • Making non-sexual but derogatory comments about an employee based on their sex

New forms of virtual harassment

New forms of harassment have also cropped up due to the virtual workspace, too. This includes sending sexual messages through instant messaging services or email. It can also include sending links to inappropriate content, such as mature or sexual videos from the internet. It can even include the perpetrator sending sexual photographs or videos of themselves to the victim.

Fortunately, victims still have protection from sexual harassment even in a virtual workspace. Anyone who has faced harassment from colleagues or higher-ups should consider seeking legal aid to decide what to do next.

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